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Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta-hCG,total HCG, HCG, b-HCG,bHCG,Human Chorionic Gonadotropin / Pregnancy Test

Beta-HCG

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is the pregnancy hormone. This test measures a very specific part of hCG in the blood: its beta subunit. The beta-hCG test is used to diagnose and monitor pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy—a pregnancy in which the fertilized egg is implanted and develops outside the uterus; risk of miscarriage), placental diseases (gestational trophoblastic disease such as hydatiform moles) and germ cell (ovary or testicle) tumours.

Beta-hCG is detectable within days of fertilization. Blood levels typically double every two days during the first four weeks of pregnancy and then roughly every 3.5 days at 6 weeks. HCG levels drop rapidly following childbirth or miscarriage and should be undetectable within a few weeks. If beta-hCG levels do not become undetectable, it can indicate that hCG-producing tissue is still present and that curettage may be indicated.

Positive hCG levels in men and in women outside of pregnancy is consistent with the presence of a germ cell tumour. Falling beta-hCG levels indicate that the tumour is responding to treatment, while stable or rising levels indicate that the tumour is not responding. Increases in post-treatment levels may indicate a recurrence of the disease.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.